12 June 2006

Understanding Elites…of any stripe

We have learned in recent months that there are some areas where our legislators just are not going to listen to us. We know why, of course. They know better than we do. They are the elites. We are the unenlightened masses.

Anyone who wants to understand elites, why they think they are elite and why they think they are entitled to rule over non-elites should really read Plato’s Republic. Of course, that’s a tall order, but only because we weren’t made to do it in grade school like should have been. But I digress.

A passage from
this discussion on the Endangered Species Act provides a clue:

“The reasoning behind [the Act] can be found in the writings of environmental philosophers, particularly Roderick Nash. Nash suggests that human ethics have evolved from the point where people considered themselves responsible only to members of their own tribe to the point where people treat all other humans with equality and respect. The next natural step, Nash suggests, is that people will grant nature rights that have been traditionally reserved only for other humans.
“Until the ethics of all human beings have evolved to this point, however, it may be necessary for those who hold these new environmental ethics to forcibly or even violently force less ethical people to take care of, or at least do no harm to, other species. This is the logic behind the animal rights movement and it is the logic behind the Endangered Species Act.
“Historians of the twentieth century will recognize this logic. It is the same used by Vladimir Lenin when he suggested that, as capitalism was based on selfishness, socialism would be based on selflessness. The next step in human social evolution, Lenin proposed, was the formation of a New Soviet Man, who would automatically work and make all decisions for the benefit of society rather than for his (or her) selfish needs.
“Lenin recognized that New Soviet Men would not instantly appear. Until education and the benefits of socialism produced such people, the Bolsheviks would control society, making all decisions for the benefit of the people rather than for a few. The promise and goals of soviet society were so inspiring that they seemed to justify almost any sacrifice to reach them--including the deaths of millions of people.”


As a former leftward-leaning elitist myself I can testify that this is exactly how it works. We—because we have seen the “light” (of secular humanism, marxism, scientism, neo-conservatism, even Christianity, whatever)—determine, like Plato’s Gaurdians, what is the direction that society should go and determine that until we can “enlighten” society right along with us, why we’ll just have to run things until everyone sees the light (which is inevitable if only we control education--and just about everything else).

One more thing: It wouldn’t be wise to think that the only elitists to worry about are the ones on the left.

Now, why have I bothered about this? It may serve as useful background for
this post by “The Bald Chick.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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